Gig work soared after the Great Recession, as workers were laid off and millennials entered the job market. In addition, new technology – including ride sharing apps and the ability to telecommute and provide freelance services from home – also fueled growth in part-time gigs. In an effort to find life/work balance, millennials and others embraced this more flexible lifestyle.
Employers seeking high quality work from the alternative workforce may be better positioned to recruit contract workers based on fair market pay. A recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that organizations can save up to 30% of labor costs by opting for a contract worker over a full-time one.
For millennials – who now outnumber Baby Boomers at 75 million – 47% of them freelance, more than any other generation. As people consider new forms of employment, many organizations are turning toward this growing alternative workforce.
6 Key Facts About the Freelance Economy
1. U.S. Gig Market Value
Marketdata estimates that the U.S. market for gigs and side hustles is worth at least $2.58 trillion.
2. Freelance & Temp Agency Revenues
According to Marketdata estimates, the top 9 gig company competitors generated at least $13.6 billion in combined revenues in 2017, while the temporary help agencies industry accounted for another $150 billion.
3. Freelance Wages
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) finds that all contingent workers (including both Uber-type drivers and highly skilled freelancers) earn from $851 to $884 per week, or $45,084 per year.
4. Freelance Markets
Up to 56% of the current freelance market is related to transportation gigs (i.e. driving for Uber and Lyft, as well as package and food delivery services). These workers earned, on average, $9,936 per year. The other 44% is related to freelancer platforms (the number of which has risen from 42 to 128), working for temp help agencies, part-time personal coaching, and other part-time gigs.
5. Freelance Growth Statistics
Currently, analysts estimate that 36% of the U.S. workforce of 160 million works in gig jobs. This percentage is forecast to grow to more than 50%. That means that 83 million Americans will perform gig work by 2027, versus 57 million currently.
6. Staffing Agency Hiring Statistics & Revenues
Over the course of a year, America’s staffing companies typically hire more than 15 million temporary and contract employees. The average wage is more than $17 per hour. Total revenues for temporary staffing companies are now $150 billion.
Learn More About the U.S. Gigs & Side Gigs Industry
For more analysis on the U.S. freelance industry, download Marketdata's report The Gigs & Side Hustles Economy: A Market Analysis.
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About the Author: John LaRosa is the President of Marketdata LLC and is the author of 100+ industry and market studies. His research appears in top media outlets including ABC, CNN, Fox, Forbes, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and a variety of trade journals.